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Egyptian death sentences for 683 Muslim Brotherhood supporters spark protest calls, global unease

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On Monday, an Egyptian court sentenced Mohamed Badie, the leader of the now-outlawed Muslim Brotherhood, and 682 other Muslim Brotherhood supporters to death. The defendants were charged with inciting violence after the overthrow of President Mohamed Morsi last July.

There are now calls for protests in Cairo on Wednesday, Reuters reports, and the United States and United Nations are worried by the ruling. "Today's verdict, like the one last month, defies even the most basic standards of international justice," the White House said in a statement.

"The decisions are possibly the largest possible death sentences in recent world history," Sarah Leah Whitson at Human Right Watch told Reuters. "It seems as these sentences are aimed at striking fear and terror into the hearts of those who oppose the interim government."

Badie, a 70-year-old veterinary professor, is considered a "conservative hardliner," Reuters says, and was quoted as saying at one of his trials, "If they executed me 1,000 times I will not retreat from the right path."